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I AM AN ARTIST - Sketchbooks  

Level: Primary, Junior
Grades: K - Gr. 5 | Age: 5 - 11 yrs | Written by: Eileen Urbanski
[Eileen is a teacher at Eagle & Union Elementary in Zionsville, IN]

Here you will find a list of ideas to encourage students to work on their own sketchbooks. This is a good jumping off point for teachers and students who wish to try creating sketchbooks during the school year.


Students will understand what being an artist means and demonstrate this through:

  1. The use of a sketchbook to record their ideas.
  2. Students will be:

    • drawing from their imaginations
    • drawing from real life objects
    • using "how to draw" instructional resources

  3. The creation of their own Art Book (portfolio).
  4. Students will create:

    • several pictures about famous artists
    • paintings/drawings using new materials like pastels, oil crayons, paint
    • drawings/paintings using new techniques like crayon rubbing, pointillism, computer art, printmaking
What You Need:

Resources/Books Used

What You Do:

Big Idea:

Everyone is an artist - it is our very special skill! Out of all the creatures on the earth only humans possess the ability to be artists!


  1. Ask the students if they know what a sketchbook is and ask if any of them have one at home.
  2. Discuss how an artist uses a sketchbook.
  3. Discuss how they will use a sketchbook.
  4. Tell the students that because some of them work fast (rabbits) and some work slow (turtles), everyone will be getting a sketchbook to use for the rest of the year in art class. Tell them that It is used whenever there is extra time in art - if they finish their work before other students. It is a special place just for their art ideas!
Day 1:
  1. After Intro, read the book Drawing Lessons from a Bear.
  2. Have the students say out loud "I AM AN ARTIST!"
  3. Hand out sketchbooks and give the following assignments:
    • Draw a picture of yourself on the cover (this is a self-portrait) and write your name and grade on it.
    • Draw one picture inside using your imagination.
    • Draw one picture inside from a "how to draw" book (students can look through the books you have on hand).
Day 2
  1. Read the book - The Artist.
  2. Write a list of jobs that an artist can do on the white board.
  3. Assignment (in the sketchbooks):

    • Draw a beautiful sunrise
    • Draw a rainbow
    • Draw anything you wish (free choice)
Day 3:
  1. Read the book - Hands Growing Up to Be An Artist
  2. Enjoy the format of the book.
  3. Discussion (talk about the following):

    • How the family works on hobbies/projects at home.
    • Talk about how the students will be creating their own Art Book. Emphasize that it will take a while to do each picture, but when they are done, they will be able to take it home and show everyone what they learned.
    • Talk about famous artists' paintings.
    • Talk about materials like pastels, oil crayons, paint.
    • Talk about new techniques, pointillism, computer art, printing.


    • Make a picture inside the sketchbook using a new material.
Day 4-8

Activity/Vocabulary Ideas for the Sketchbook:


Continue to come up with ideas for the sketchbook. When the school year is complete, students can take the books home and share with family and friends.

Recommended Books/Products:

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